In the mid 1940s she married salesman Irving "Whitey" Hardekopf and moved with him to Birmingham where she took an active role in civic affairs. She was executive director of a resource agency of the United Way of Central Alabama until her retirement in the late 1970s. Her husband died of a heart attack just weeks after her retirement.
Hardekopf decided then to return to Hollywood and pursue acting as a hobby. As "Dona Hardy", she landed small roles in several films including "When Harry Met Sally", "The Running Man", "The Truman Show", The Cable Guy" and "Superbad". She also appeared on television in episodes of "Night Court", "Designing Women", "E.R.", "Malcolm in the Middle", "My Name is Earl", and "Grey's Anatomy". She returned to Birmingham in 2009.
- Carlton, Bob (July 18, 2010) "Late bloomer Dona Hardy finally lived out her dream of being a Hollywood actress." Birmingham News
- "Jean Dona Hardekopf" obituary (February 15, 2011) Birmingham News
- Dona Hardy on IMDB.com